Critic Consensus: Adrift sails smoothly between love story and survival drama, thanks in large part to a gripping central performance from Shailene Woodley.
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as Tami Oldham
as Richard Sharp
as Tahitian Padler
as Customs Agent
as Outrigger Girl
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Critic Reviews for Adrift
To adopt the old cliché, the ocean isn't just a character in this film - it's the best one.
Every element is so perfect that it left me shaking and devastated.
It's downright refreshing to witness the depiction of a woman as independently strong, capable and determined to survive.
It's worth noting, too, that while the particulars are easily found via a Google search, given the slim nature of the story, the less one knows going into the movie -- other than the fact that Tami lived to write a book about it -- the better.
Adrift is enough of a boilerplate piece of survival drama that you know to expect those beats more or less coming on schedule, but Woodley makes it more emotionally satisfying than it would be otherwise.
Audience Reviews for Adrift
It's one part survival-at-sea drama, one part relationship drama, and you get an equal slice of both until an unforeseen ending explains why the narrative was so divided. Based on a true story, Adrift tells the journey and survival of a couple (Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin) lost at sea for 41 days after getting too close to a hurricane. Woodley takes the lead to fix the sailboat, gather supplies, tend to the grievous injuries of her boyfriend, and plot their treacherous path to Hawaii. If they're off just a few degrees, it will be life and death. The survival half is viscerally entertaining and steady with its details, allowing the audience to get comfortable in following the steps and reasons. The camerawork by director Baltasar Kormakur (Everest) is sweeping and methodical, pulling us into the danger and isolation while creating a sterling sense of verisimilitude. The screenplay vacillates between the present and past, supplying flashbacks to fill out the romantic relationship. It's a smart move because it allows us to immediately get into the stakes of survival while also finding room to develop the characters in a more normal setting. Plus it also makes more sense by the Tully-esque end. This is pretty much Woodley's (HBO's Big Little Lies) show; her secondary co-star might as well be her nipples poking through her character's swimwear and tops. As readers may know, I'm a big fan of Woodley and the naturalism she brings to her performances, and Adrift is no exception. She can say so much through her smiles. She's a great anchor for a storyteller. Ultimately, Adrift is a survival drama that takes a while to get going but leaves a favorable impression thanks to the acting and technical merits. Nate's Grade: B
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